Sino-Japanese War 1894-95: Capture of Wei hai wei, 18 January - 12 February 1895
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Handsome image of Japanese Admiral Itoh accepting the surrender of Chinese forces after the Battle of Weihaiwei. Dressed in flowing robes, three Chinese leaders bow respectfully before the admiral and his officers on board ship. The officers wear black uniforms trimmed with gold braid and epaulets, their pants detailed with a red stripe.
An interesting scene, nicely detailed.

On February 12, Captain Cheng Pi-kuang, commander of the Chinese warship Kuang-Ping, came to meet Admiral Itō Sukeyuki, who commanded the Japanese Combined Fleet. Cheng presented a message of surrender from Admiral Ting Ju-chang, commander of the Chinese Peiyang Fleet. Educated in America, Captain Cheng spoke English well and was known as one of the most able Chinese naval officers. Admiral Ting sought a guarantee of safety for the Chinese troops and foreign advisors in exchange for the surrender of ships and arms in the Weihaiwei area. Admiral Itō had proposed surrender earlier to Admiral Ting. His letter, written in English read in part: “Honored Sir: The unfortunate turn of events has made us enemies; but as the warfare of today does not imply animosity between each and all individuals, we hope our former friendship is still warm enough to assure Your Excellency that these lines, which we address to you with your kind permission, are dictated by a motive higher than that of a mere challenge to surrender.”*
Admiral Itō had written, it is said, in English deliberately to give Admiral Ting’s foreign advisors an advantage in arguing for surrender.  One of the advisors to the Chinese was Scotsman John McClure. Admiral Itō accepted Admiral Ting’s surrender proposal. Captain Cheng returned with some gifts from the Japanese commander: two dozen bottles of wine and champagne and dried persimmons from Hiroshima. Admiral Ting replied to Itō’s acceptance of surrender with a gracious note. The Chinese admiral sent his representative back to the Japanese, returning Itō’s gifts with thanks. He wrote to the Chinese leader Li Hung-chang, explaining the details of the defeat. Admiral Ting then poisoned himself. Admiral Ting was respected as the leader of perhaps the only serious and prolonged resistance the Japanese encountered. As the steamship Kuang Chi departed, carrying Ting’s body, the following reportedly took place: “The Japanese fleet paid a touching  tribute to the memory of the brave opponent. As the Chinese vessel steamed out of the harbour, all the vessels had their flags at half-mast, and from Count Itō’s flagship minute guns were fired for some time after the vessel sailed. The European warships at Weihaiwei also lowered their flags, as a testimony to the bravery exhibited by the late admiral.**
From the 1983 Philadelphia Museum of Art publication “Impressions of the Front”,Catalogue number 73. p.44.
*Miyake Seturei. Dojidai shi (Tokyo, 1950), vol.3, p.44.
** Trumbull White. The War in the East: Japan, China and Corea (Philadelphia, 1895), p.641.

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